Issue #90

The Big God of the Old Testament, How Should Christians Speak in Public, the Unbiblical Pursuit of a Trouble-Free Life, and more...

Issue #90
Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky / Unsplash

Christianity Is True ✝️

Theories Behind Jesus' Missing Body | Jon Topping 🎧 →

No matter your worldview, everyone must explain what happened to Jesus of Nazareth. Historically, we know that he lived and he died. Those are considered historical truths by believers and non-believers of all stripes. But what happened after that? Apologist Jon Topping explores some of the ways that non-believers attempt to explain how a dead Messiah turned into the largest religion in the world.

The empty tomb is a difficult historical fact to make sense of. There are a few different ways to try and explain why Jesus' tomb was found empty, and in this episode we go into each theory in detail. For example, maybe the women simply went to the wrong tomb, or the Roman or Jewish authorities moved Jesus' body, or perhaps someone stole the body. In this episode we show that each of these explanations ends up having quite serious problems.
If you've enjoyed reading this letter, please share it with others and help us grow. We exist to help Christians grow in their faith and to make the name of Jesus Messiah glorified in all the earth. We grow thanks to readers like you sharing what we do with others. Thank you!

Musical Masterpiece 🎼

3 Year ‘EveryPsalm’ Project Records All 150 Psalms | Brett McCracken 📃 →

I’ve been following along with Jesse and Leah Roberts’ (also known as the band Poor Bishop Hooper) project for years and enjoying these songs as they’ve been released. As of a few weeks ago, all 150 psalms (including a 22-song album for the 119th psalm) have been covered.

Explore the Scriptures 📖

The Big God of the Old Testament | Jason DeRouchie and Kyle Worley 🎧 →

In this very short podcast, Dr. Jason DeRouchie answers the question of what the name of the God of the Old Testament tells us about the God we worship.

Are you enjoying this letter? You can subscribe via e-mail, RSS, and Twitter to be notified when new issues release.

Read and Reflect 📖

You Will Be Breathtaking: Why God Clothes Us in Glory | Marshall Segal 📃 →

It might be hard to imagine that a phrase like soli Deo gloria could be misunderstood or misapplied. To God alone be the glory. What could be unclear or mistaken in those six simple words?

Fortunately, the main burden of the phrase is wonderfully and profoundly clear. Our generation (and, to be fair, every generation before us and after us) desperately needs to be confronted with such God-centered, God-entranced clarity. The clarion anthem of the Reformation has been the antidote to what ails sinners from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. We fall short of the glory of God by preferring anything besides the glory of God above the glory of God. That’s what sin is.

We want the credit, the appreciation, the praise for any good we’ve done (and pity and understanding for whatever we’ve done wrong). We were made to make much of him, but we demand instead that he make much of us.

But even though the thrust of scripture is about us giving God the glory, Segal sees another thread about how God will glorify us.

For us to live in a paradise where fullness of joy lives — where God himself lives — we have to be something more than we are. Piper writes, “You can’t put the jet engine of a 747 in a tiny Smart Car. You can’t fit the volcano of God’s joy in the teacup of my unglorified soul. You can’t put all-glorious joy in inglorious people” (“Soli Deo Gloria”). We will be made glorious enough to swim in the wells of the greatest happiness ever conceived. The oceans, mountains, and stars are lined up outside to get a glimpse of that transformation — of our glory.

This thread in Scripture is as stubborn and stunning as the one beneath soli Deo gloria. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Even now, here on earth, we’re growing in degrees of glory. And then one day we’ll close our eyes for the last time on earth, and the next time we open them, we’ll barely recognize ourselves: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). When glory finally comes, it will not merely be a wonder to see, but a wonder to be.

We must live now like we remember what we have been promised to become, what we are becoming even now as the Holy Spirit works within us.

Living This Christian Life 🤴👸

How Should Christians Speak in Public? | Tim Keller 📃 →

Drawing on a recent news interview with a pastor and reactions to it, Tim Keller gives a proposal for how Christians ought to approach speaking in public—whether on a news interview, Twitter exchange, or anywhere else a Christian might speak with unbelievers in public.

One way that Keller has seen Christians propose engaging is ’nice’, ‘compassionate’, and ‘conciliatory’, while another side proposes to “just tell the truth” without any attempt to be ‘winsome’.

Keller proposes a third way that is neither ‘seeker-sensitive nor “just tell the truth”—though I would say it skews much more toward the former.

Keller derives this from 1 Corinthians 2:1–5, and his conclusion (read the article for a fuller engagement with the text).

Paul calls Christian communicators to

1. A spirit of humility and love (what I will call ‘Affection’). The fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy and peace, patience and kindness, and humility. These must be evident as we speak about the gospel publicly. Right now, the most popular public figures show confidence and fearlessness but not love and humility. We cannot follow in that train.

2. Culturally compelling arguments (what I will call ‘Persuasion’). Acts and Paul’s epistles give us many examples of how Paul argued. He did not merely proclaim truth propositions—he showed the particular audience on their own terms why they should believe it. So we should not merely tell people the truth, but look for persuasive ways of reasoning with people’s minds and hearts.

3. A quiet, courageous confidence in the truth of God’s Word (what I will call ‘Resolution’). It will not do if audiences see Christians being hesitant to affirm anything that the Bible teaches. Even if you disagree with a person’s beliefs, the strength and integrity of their belief can command admiration if they are visible.

Keller goes into more detail about how Christians use these character traits to make our speech distinctively Christian in a fallen world.

Family Focus 🏡

Teach Your Kids to Love the Local Church | Megan Hill 📽 →

If we want our kids to love Jesus, we must also want them to love the church. In her message at TGCW21, Megan Hill gives five practical ways to teach our kids to love the local church.

1. Acknowledge our kids’ experiences. Know that church isn’t always easy for them, and talk to them about it.

2. Remove practical obstacles. Sometimes what they don’t like about church isn’t spiritual and can be changed.

3. Teach them church is good. Disciple children at home so that practices at church don’t feel foreign or awkward for them.

4. Affirm their kingdom value. Make sure kids don’t feel like an afterthought but know they’re valued and can be used by God.

5. Invite them to participate. Call them to serve and invite them to love others with you in tangible ways.

Hill closes with an encouragement to parents who are feeling overwhelmed. “Sunday by Sunday, seek to show your kids how good it is to love God’s people and to worship alongside them—you have an advocate in the heavenly places.”

Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️

The Unbiblical Pursuit of a Trouble-Free Life | John Piper 📃 →

There is a mind-set in the prosperous West that we deserve pain-free, trouble-free existence. When life deals us the opposite, we have a right not only to blame somebody or some system and to feel sorry for ourselves, but also to devote most of our time to coping, so that we have no time or energy left over for serving others.

The natural bent of the human condition is inward, toward ourselves and our own desires, which naturally pulls us toward, as Piper writes, “comfort and safety and relief.” This is often the modern, 21st Century American Christian view as well. We seek the comfort of comfortable relationships and a comfortable church, we seek safety in a lack of persecution.

One way or the other, Christ will bring his church to realize that “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33); that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12); that we are called to “share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8); that “we . . . groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23); that “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for [Christ’s] sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35); and that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

If we will not freely take our cross and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34) on the Calvary road, it may be thrust on us. It would be better to hear the warnings now and wake up to biblical reality. Existence in this fallen world will not be pain-free and trouble-free. There will be groaning because of our finitude and fallenness, and many afflictions because of our calling (Rom. 8:23; Ps. 34:19). Frustration is normal, disappointment is normal, sickness is normal. Conflict, persecution, danger, stress—they are all normal. The mind-set that moves away from these will move away from reality and away from Christ. Golgotha was not a suburb of Jerusalem.

Piper continues by pointing out that Christians are called to move toward the needy, not our comfort. We are called to bear our crosses and follow Christ. 2 Corinthians 6:8–10 tells us,

…through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. (ESV)

Piper’s article, adapted from his book linked below, is littered with scripture as a call to faithfulness like this must be.

For More:

If this ministry helps you, please know that while we offer it for free, it is not free to run. If you are financially able and you would like to support us, you can purchase products through our store, join our membership program, or give a one-time donation. Visit the Supporting Us page to find out more about these options.

This is completely optional, and everything that is currently free will continue to be free. Thank you for reading The Garden Weekly.

Keep Your Mind on Things Above

I will be praying for you this week.

What comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a person. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, slander. These are the things that defile a person…
— Matthew 15:18–20a (CSB)

Joel Fischer

Join the conversation! If you're seeing this through e-mail, click the title at the top, log in, and share your thoughts!